- The Reds’ Rookie-level affiliate announced today that lefty Max Wotell has been released by the organization. The 21-year-old Wotell was traded alongside Dilson Herrera from the Mets to the Reds in exchange for Jay Bruce back in 2016, but his control evaporated immediately upon being dealt to the Reds. At the time of the swap, Wotell had a 3.94 ERA with a respectable 31-to-12 K/BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings in Rookie ball. He walked seven batters in six innings to close out that season with the Reds, and the following year, he walked 14 batters in just 17 1/3 innings between two levels. This season, Wotell had a combined 10.45 ERA with 17 walks against 11 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings between A-ball and Rookie ball.
- The Yankees are known to be exploring the starting pitching market but Matt Harvey isn’t a big target for the team, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Harvey has recovered a bit of his former value by pitching well over 10 starts for the Reds, though the Yankees are wary of the right-hander due to the “potential circus” of extra media attention that would accompany Harvey’s return to New York.
The Dodgers have acquired right-handers Dylan Floro and Zach Neal from the Reds, as per a team press release. Los Angeles will also receive some international bonus pool space from Cincinnati in the trade, and right-hander Daniel Corcino has been designated for assignment to create a 40-man roster spot. The Reds will receive minor league right-handers Aneurys Zabala and James Marinan in the trade.
After signing a minor league deal with Cincy over the winter, Floro emerged as a solid bullpen piece for the Reds, posting a 2.72 ERA, 2.25 K/BB rate, and a 6.7 K/9 over 36 1/3 innings this season. While he doesn’t miss many bats, Floro has consistently been able to keep the ball on the ground over his seven-year pro career, including a 56.8% grounder rate in 2018. He has also done a good job of limiting contact, as his .282 xwOBA is notably lower than his .307 wOBA.
Floro’s skillset makes him a logical fit in a Dodgers bullpen that has had some issues keeping the ball in the park, as the L.A. relief corps ranks in the bottom half of all bullpens in HR/9. Dodgers relievers generally rank around the middle of the pack in most categories, and the team was known to have been looking around (particularly at the Marlins) for some bullpen help to bolster a unit that has been thinned by injuries. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Dodgers weren’t done with their relief shopping prior to the deadline, as while Floro has been effective this year, he isn’t a proven commodity with only 61 career Major League innings under his belt.
This is actually the second time Floro has been in the Dodgers’ system, as the club selected him off waivers from the Cubs last summer before letting him go as a free agent after the season. Neal is another former Dodger, who was dealt to the Reds back in April as part of a three-player trade. The 29-year-old Neal saw lot of action (70 innings) right out of the gate in his 2016 rookie season as a member of the A’s, though he has since tossed just 15 2/3 big league frames. He’ll likely continue to pitch in Triple-A, potentially replacing Corcino as minor league relief and swingman depth if Corcino is lost on DFA waivers.
Corcino tossed four innings for L.A. this season, which marked his first bit of MLB action since 18 2/3 innings for the Reds back in 2014. The 27-year-old has a 4.06 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 2.05 K/BB rate over 838 1/3 minor league innings in the farm systems of the Reds, Cubs, and Dodgers.
This is the Reds’ second trade of international bonus pool space in the last three days. Cincinnati can’t spend more than $300K on any single international prospect in this year’s July 2 class due to past overages (under the old int’l signing rules), and with a large pool of $6,025,400 to work with, it isn’t surprising that the Reds have unloaded some of that cash to the Red Sox and now the Dodgers to obtain some other young talent. It isn’t known how much Cincy is sending to Los Angeles, though international pool funds can only be dealt in $250K increments.
Marinan is the most notable prospect name in the trade, with MLB.com ranking him 21st amongst Dodgers farmhands (Baseball America had Marinan 24th in their preseason ranking of Los Angeles’ top 30 minor leaguers). A fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft, Marinan is still just 19 years old, and he has a 1.95 ERA over 27 2/3 innings at the rookie ball level, albeit with a troubling 5.9 BB/9. MLB.com’s scouting report lists the young righty at 6’5″ and 220 pounds, and describes him as possessing a fastball in the 92-96mph range, a slider, and “an upper-70s curveball that features good depth when he stays on top of it.”
Zabala is another young arm joining the Reds’ farm system, a 21-year-old signed out of the Dominican Republic who is in his fifth season of pro ball. Zabala has worked exclusively as a reliever since 2015, and he has a career 5.05 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 1.26 K/BB over 164 innings.
TUESDAY: The deal is official. India receives a $5.3MM bonus, MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets.
SUNDAY: The Reds will sign first-round pick Jonathan India, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. India’s bonus isn’t known, but his selection – No. 5 – comes with a $5.9MM slot value.
India was a star third baseman at Florida, where he was particularly excellent in 2018. The 21-year-old concluded his tenure with the Gators by slashing .350/.497/.717 with 21 home runs in 226 at-bats as a junior, leading to both a high selection and top 1o pre-draft rankings at Baseball America (No. 6), MLB.com (No. 8), ESPN (No. 9) and FanGraphs (No. 9).
India will bring an “advanced” offensive approach to the Reds, per MLB.com, which lauds his “excellent plate discipline,” ability to hit for average and decent power. He’s also a threat on the base paths and has the athleticism to play all over the infield, according to MLB.com. India’s defensive versatility could be especially useful for a Cincinnati team which has third baseman Eugenio Suarez locked up for the long haul.
3:20pm: A source disputes the reporting from the Nationals’ perspective, per Chelsea Janes and Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (Twitter links). The Washington organization does not have interest in Harvey and “seems unlikely” to be a real bidder on Iglesias, according to the WaPo duo. The Nats are said to have shown some interest in Iglesias as a reliever, but that came before they acquired Kelvin Herrera.
10:07am: The Nationals have been in touch with the Reds recently and are eyeing right-handers Matt Harvey and Raisel Iglesias, in particular, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). Perhaps most interestingly, Heyman notes that several clubs are intrigued by the idea of using Iglesias as a starter.
Harvey, 29, has undeniably raised his stock since joining the Reds in a trade nearly two months ago in a trade that sent Devin Mesoraco to New York. Through 53 2/3 innings out of the Cincinnati rotation, he’s worked to a 3.86 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9 and a 43 percent ground-ball rate. More encouraging than the bottom-line numbers is the fact that Harvey has steadily improved his velocity over the course of his tenure in Cincinnati; he’s averaged nearly 95 mph on his fastball over his past five starts and is averaging 94.2 mph on his heater as a Red after averaging 92.6 mph as a Met.
Harvey would be a pure rental for any team that acquires him, as he’s slated to hit free agency at season’s end. From the Nationals’ vantage point, though, it’s not clear he’d be a definitive upgrade over their in-house options. The Nats’ current top three of Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez is a strong trio, and while it’s not known exactly when Stephen Strasburg will rejoin the team, he did recently throw a bullpen session. If Strasburg’s absence proves to be lengthy, the need for a starter would be more pronounced. If he can return in the reasonably near future, though, it’s tougher to call Harvey a demonstrative upgrade over current fifth starter Jeremy Hellickson, who has turned in a perhaps surprisingly effective season to date (2.63 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 3.51 FIP, 3.55 xFIP through 48 innings).
As for Iglesias, he stands out as a reasonable target for virtually any team with postseason aspirations. The 28-year-old has stepped up as Cincinnati’s closer over the past two seasons and pitched quite well, regularly pitching more than an inning per appearance. Since Opening Day 2017, he’s pitched 112 2/3 innings (97 appearances) and posted a 2.48 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9. Beyond that, he’s controlled for three more years after the 2018 season, making him a long-term piece for any club to add to its staff — be it in the bullpen or rotation.
The Nationals’ bullpen is much improved from a year ago, as they’ve since added Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler and Kelvin Herrera, to say nothing of the surprisingly dominant Justin Miller. But Iglesias would nonetheless further deepen an increasingly productive relief corps for manager Dave Martinez or, perhaps, serve as an upside play to plug into the fifth spot in the Washington rotation. If that proved to be a role in which he could thrive, he’d give the team a valuable option there with Gonzalez and Hellickson set to hit free agency at season’s end and Roark controlled only through 2019.
The Red Sox have traded minor league outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola to the Reds in exchange for international bonus pool space, both teams announced. Neither announcement revealed the size of the pool allotment changing hands, though international bonus allotments must be traded in increments of $250K.
For the Reds, it’s not a surprise to see them trading away some pool space. The Cincinnati organization is still in the maximum penalty bracket from the previous collective bargaining agreement, meaning they can’t sign any single international amateur for a bonus of greater than $300K. Boston is under no such exemption and will use the additional funds to bolster their haul on the 2018-19 international signing market, which opened today and will run through June 15, 2019.
Cedrola, 20, signed with the Red Sox in February 2015 out of Venezuela and has since risen to the Class-A South Atlantic League, where he’s currently repeating the level. He’s hitting .318/.350/427 through 229 plate appearances in his second run through that level, and while he hasn’t homered, he’s hit 17 doubles and three triples along the way. Cedrola has minimal power but has swiped 65 bases (in 91 tries) through 262 minor league games.
Baseball America rated Cedrola as the Red Sox’ No. 24 prospect in the 2016-17 offseason, calling him an “excellent athlete and plus runner” while also noting his physical limitations and lack of home run power. Cedrola rarely walks but has strong contact skills — career 4.3 percent walk rate and 11.9 percent strikeout rate — and BA notes that with his speed and average arm, he has the profile of at least a reserve outfielder.
- The Angels have acquired catcher Joe Hudson from the Reds for cash, per an announcement from Cincinnati. Hudson had been with the Reds since they chose him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. Now 27, Hudson has seen his first Triple-A action this year and hit .235/.339/.294 in 60 plate appearances.
The Red Sox and Astros are among the teams with interest in Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Houston, in particular, is “looking hard at Iglesias,” Cafardo writes. The Astros had been eyeing fellow late-game option Kelvin Herrera, per Cafardo, though he’s no longer on the market after the Royals traded him to the Nationals earlier this month. Unlike Herrera, a free agent at season’s end, Iglesias could be a multiyear solution for an acquiring team. The 28-year-old standout is under control through 2020 for affordable salaries ($4.5MM this season, $5MM in each of 2019 and ’20), though he could elect to opt into arbitration over the winter in hopes of securing a raise. Given Iglesias’ track record and remaining team control, the Reds would surely require an impressive haul to consider moving him. It’s worth noting, then, that the Astros have Baseball America’s 10th-best farm system, while the Red Sox’s prospect pool is just 24th.
THURSDAY: The surgery was to “reduce the fracture,” per a club announcement, with “no damage to the tendon” requiring treatment. Whether or not that impacts the timeline is not known, but it seems there could be some hope for an improved outlook.
SATURDAY: The Reds have announced that their top prospect, third baseman Nick Senzel, will undergo season-ending surgery in order to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger.
It appears as though Senzel suffered the injury while making a defensive play during the top half of the first inning in a Triple-A matchup against the Norfolk Tides. Although he initially remained in the game for the Louisville Bats, he was removed in the bottom half of the inning, and now it appears the Reds are facing one of the worst-case outcomes, as a player who seemed ready to contribute in the majors at some point soon will instead miss the remainder of 2018.
The 22-year-old Senzel is a consensus top-flight young talent in the game, with all four of Fangraphs, MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus labeling him as either the game’s sixth- or seventh-best prospect in their most recent rankings. A 6’1″ third baseman, Senzel has raked at a .310/.378/.509 clip in 193 Triple-A plate appearances this season while slugging six homers and swiping eight bags.
For what it’s worth, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosencrans reports that the Reds expect Senzel to make a full recovery, and they believe the injury is unlikely to affect him moving forward. Furthermore, it seems as though he could still feasibly be ready in time for further development in the Arizona Fall League or in winter ball. Online research, at least, would seem to corroborate that last point, as a few sources suggest that a finger with said injury can handle heavy sports activities after about 12 weeks post-surgery.
Prior to this stunning turn of events, Senzel seemed to be on the brink of a potential major-league call-up, at least by basic logic. He was just coming off a two-homer game and had three in the past week in addition to his strong Triple-A batting line. Furthermore, a promotion at this point in the season would not have helped him qualify for Super Two status, as that deadline has almost certainly passed for the season. Though he would appear to be blocked at third base by a red-hot Eugenio Suarez, Senzel’s actually been getting some reps at the keystone this season in order to give him a more direct path to the majors.
For now, though, the young wunderkind will sit on the MiLB injury shelf, where he won’t gather any MLB service time. That means Reds fans will likely have to wait until at least three weeks into next season to see Senzel at Great American Ballpark, as Cincinnati will almost certainly look to manipulate his service clock in order to gain an extra year of team control over him.
The latest from Cincinnati…
- Reds outfielder Adam Duvall is drawing plenty of interest in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says (video link). The 29-year-old Duvall likely wouldn’t bring back a lot in a trade, Rosenthal notes, as he’s amid a down season in terms of bottom-line results. After hitting 30-plus home runs in both 2016 and ’17, a two-year stretch in which he slashed .245/.299/.489 in 1,255 plate appearances, Duvall has recorded a .201/.282/.406 line in 262 PAs this season. But with 12 homers and a .205 ISO, Duvall has continued to offer power, and he’s walking at a career-best rate (9.9 percent). Further, as Rosenthal points out, Duvall has encountered some bad luck. The 29-year-old’s batting average on balls in play is just .230, 40 points below his career mark, and he entered Sunday with an impressive .356 xwOBA (via Baseball Savant). Duvall’s also cheap ($645K) and won’t make his first of three potential trips through arbitration until the upcoming offseason.
- It’s possible the Reds will move Duvall and/or other veterans, though the club’s also open to trading for big league help prior to the deadline. Even though the Reds are 31-45 and nowhere near contention, general manager Dick Williams said Saturday (via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that “we are open to adding. We’re going to start moving into the building mode at the deadline and this offseason.” The goal, according to Williams, is to acquire “a controllable asset that would be with us for a few years.” At the same time, the Reds “have a pretty clear idea going into this deadline on players we’re willing to move if the right deal comes along,” Williams added. Fay goes on to analyze several veterans whom the team could deal in the next several weeks.
- Right-hander Homer Bailey is in for “a lengthy rehab” stint, per interim manager Jim Riggleman (via Jeff Wallner of MLB.com). While the right knee inflammation that sent Bailey to the disabled list on June 2 seems to have subsided, the Reds are concerned with his results. “His health is good,” said Riggleman. “It’s more about how the ball’s coming out of his hand and the quality of the pitches. He feels pretty good.” Pitching at the Triple-A level Saturday, Bailey gave up seven earned runs on 10 hits over six innings. Before his DL placement, Bailey worked to a 6.68 ERA/6.23 FIP over 62 innings with the Reds, leading them to demote him to a relief role at the end of May. The 32-year-old hasn’t come out of the bullpen for the club yet, though, as he went on the DL shortly after the demotion. Bailey’s in the second-last season of a six-year, $105MM deal, a contract that hasn’t paid off for the Reds.